3 types of dental fillings and what to know about them
Is it time to visit your dentist for a check-up? Do you have a nagging feeling, accompanied by an achy tooth, that you might have a new cavity? Do you know what filling types are available or what fillings are made of today? Modern dentistry advances so quickly that the answer to this last question may surprise you. Here are the three types of fillings and what you should know about them.
Type 1: Metal or amalgam fillings
Amalgam fillings are a mixture of mercury combined with silver, zinc, tin and copper. Are these metal fillings bad for you? We believe they are. Although they used to be the standard because of their durability, ongoing research has raised concerns in recent years about the possibility of long-term health risks associated with the use of mercury in dental fillings. That reason raises enough doubt, but here are a few more:
- Amalgams react to changes in temperature, so they continuously expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold foods in your mouth. These perpetual changes cause movement that may eventually compromise tooth structure or lead to a fracture.
- The movement of amalgams also creates new gaps where bacteria can gain access and cause further decay.
- Though rare, some patients have had severe allergic reactions to the silver.
- Many patients find them unattractive.
Type 2: Plastic onlay/inlay
This type of filling is made of a composite resin and require very little removal of your natural tooth.
- Easy to use for smaller cavities.
- They bond to your existing teeth and are not temperature-sensitive, so there are no concerns about gaps or cracks.
- Although not quite as stain resistant as porcelain, they look natural and leave your teeth protected and stronger.
Type 3: Porcelain onlay/inlay
Porcelain onlay/inlays are perfect for larger cavities, but they do cost more. This is because they are hand-crafted in a lab by expert technicians.
- They are durable, bond well to teeth and are not temperature sensitive
- They are more stain resistant than plastic and look completely natural.
We are happy to answer any questions about dental fillings, along with any concerns you may have about your existing amalgam fillings. If you would like to learn more about dental fillings and which type is right for you, please come in for a free consultation.